The BJP leaders and workers, including the Darjeeling MP Raju Bista today joined the ceremony in Siliguri.
The Darjeeling district administration has imposed restrictions on the entry of people from neighbouring Sikkim, a day after the Hilamayan state reported some first confirmed cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
An order issued by District Magistrate, S Ponnambalam, today said that to contain the spread of Covid-19, all inbound passengers, drivers and vehicle helpers entering Bengal from the state will have to furnish either of the three documents–certificate of double vaccination, negative RT-PCR negative reports issued within 72 hours of their travel, Rapid Antigen Test negative report conducted within 48 hours before the date of the arrival. The order will come into effect on 22 July.
Earlier in the day, the health department and the administration in Darjeeling district had said that they were planning to impose such restrictions on the entry of people from Sikkim. As many as 97 of the 98 Covid-19-positive samples that had been sent for genome sequencing last month were found to be of the Delta variant in the neighbouring state, it is learnt.
“We are planning to introduce a mechanism in which people coming from Sikkim must show the RT-PCR test negative reports or double dose vaccination certificates, while arrangements for Rapid Antigen Tests will be made,” the Darjeeling district chief medical officer of health, Dr Pralay Acharya, said earlier.
On the other hand, Sikkim presently allows partially vaccinated individuals if at least one member of their family has been fully vaccinated as well as unvaccinated children accompanied by vaccinated parents if they produce a negative RT-PCR test result to enter the state through the Melli and Rangpo check posts.
Kalimpong district, on the other hand, shares the border with Sikkim. According to officials of the Kalimpong district administration, they also plan to put in place similar restrictions at the border checkpoints.
“We are monitoring whether all passengers are following Covid-19 protocol,” a senior official earlier said today. However, it could not be verified if Delta variant cases had been found in the district too. The Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital send samples of Covid-19 patients to the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics at Kalyani regularly to find out whether any new variant has emerged.
The officer on special duty for public health in north Bengal, Dr Susanta Kumar Roy said it was important to remain alert and monitor people coming from high-burden neighbouring states like Sikkim and Assam. Experts said that the Covid19 variant, B.1.617.2, or the Delta variant has caused havoc across the country.
According to them, it is still a variant of concern. They said it could hit back in the form of a third wave if no further mutation takes place and Covid protocols are not followed.